CLAS Welcomes New Department and Program Heads

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences welcomed five new heads of departments, centers, and institutes this year. From left to right: Associate Professor of History Mark Healey; Professor and Head of History Mark Healey; Professor of Anthropology and Director of El Instituto Sam Martinez; Professor and Director of Geography Cindy Zhang; Professor and Head of Physics Barry Wells; and Associate Professor of History and Director of Asian and Asian American Studies Jason Chang.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences welcomed five new heads of departments, centers, and institutes this year. From left to right: Associate Professor of History Mark Healey; Professor of Anthropology and Director of El Instituto Sam Martinez; Professor and Director of Geography Cindy Zhang; Professor and Head of Physics Barry Wells; and Associate Professor of History and Director of Asian and Asian American Studies Jason Chang.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences welcomed five new heads of departments, centers, and institutes this year. Spanning the College’s disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, the new leaders bring a wealth of experience both in academia and industry, a renewed interest in graduate education and research, and a fresh perspective on their growing undergraduate programs.


Jason Chang, director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute

Jason Chang, associate professor of history and director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, outside of Beach Hall on August 27, 2018. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)
Jason Chang, associate professor of history and director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

“Many people think they have to be ethnically Asian to take an Asian American or Asian studies class, but this is absolutely not true. Because our programs are fundamentally about justice, human rights, and peace, they are, by definition, for everyone.”

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Samuel Martinez, director of El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies

Samuel Martinez, professor of anthropology and director of El Instituto, outside of Beach Hall on September 6, 2018. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)
Samuel Martinez, professor of anthropology and director of El Instituto. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

“Our students are often impressed with how much our faculty’s teaching grows directly out of their work and life engagement with Latinx identities.

“We don’t just study it; we live it.”

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Barry Wells, head of the Department of Physics

Barrett Wells, professor and head of the Department of Physics, on September 18, 2018. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)
Barrett Wells, professor and head of the Department of Physics. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

“There seem to be as many reasons to study physics as there are students. Some common draws I have heard from students include an interest in recent news about detecting gravity waves from black holes, the discovery of planets in other solar systems, a fascination with the weird behavior of the quantum world, and even the influence of the TV show The Big Bang Theory.”

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Cindy Zhang, head of the Department of Geography

Chuanrong (Cindy) Zhang, professor and head of the Department of Geography, outside of the Austin Building on August 23, 2018. (Bri diaz/UConn Photo)
Chuanrong (Cindy) Zhang, professor and head of the Department of Geography. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

“Our Department itself is an interdisciplinary community of scientists from different scientific fields equipped with geographical perspectives and techniques. We are concerned with links between people and nature, as well as spatial analysis and representation of the flows of mass, energy, people, capital, and information.”

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Mark Healey, incoming head of the Department of History, January 2019

Associate Professor Mark Healey, who will become head of the Department of History in January 2019, outside of Wood Hall on August 22, 2018. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)
Associate Professor of History Mark Healey. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

“Our undergraduate majors can be found in business, in government, in consulting, in the arts and museums and fundraising, and of course in our obvious strengths in teaching and law. I think the variety of outcomes suggest that learning to think carefully and critically about how societies change turns out to be a valuable skill in an ever-changing job market.”

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